Staples Unplugging From Staples Connect Smart-Home Platform

Was an early proponent of retailer-centric home automation
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Staples is discontinuing Staples Connect, one of the earliest retailer-specific smart-home platforms, and is supplanting the Zonoff-based program with Z-Wave-compatible products.

Updated! Staples is no longer selling Staples Connect, its proprietary smart-home platform.

Instead, the No. 1 office supply chain and is handing off sales and support for the Zonoff-based program to Z-Wave Products Inc., an authorized dealer and distributor of Z-Wave-enabled products.

Staples launched the pioneering, retailer-centric, home-automation ecosystem in 2013. At last count the DIY collection encompassed some 150 devices under more than three dozen brands spanning lighting, climate control, security and other categories, and was sold online and merchandised in about 550 Staples stores.

To ease the transition, Z-Wave Products will provide service and support to Staples Connect customers, at least during a transitional period, via a dedicated website and a hotline, (800) 380-1518.

The company, which carries 26 brands including GE, D-Link, Honeywell, Kwikset, Leviton, Schlage and Yale, will also work with Zonoff to update the Staples Connect app, which controls and monitors Staples Connect systems, to ensure backwards compatibility.

Staples spokesman Mark Cautela told TWICE in an email that the move was prompted by “changing market dynamics and a focus on more business-oriented solutions.”

Indeed, Shira Goodman, who succeeded CEO Ron Sargent on an interim basis in June, said her growth plan calls for “intensifying our focus on our … mid-market business customers.”

Staples was also distracted by its planned acquisition of, and integration with, archrival Office Depot. The effort was derailed in May due to concerns by federal regulators after 19 months of preparation.

Cautela added that the decision to suspend the proprietary platform wasn’t taken lightly, given its impact on Staples’ customers.

Speaking at a TWICE Retail Executive Roundtable last year, Staples’ business development VP Brian Coupland said Connect was inspired by the notion of a single ecosystem that could simplify home automation for consumers.

“With all of the new protocols out there, having one unified solution and one app is really what drove Staples Connect,” he said. “Customers didn’t want to go into multiple apps even though each individual experience may be great. They wanted one unified experience.”

Connect’s disconnection leaves Lowe’s, with its Iris program, as the leading proponent of retailer-centric home automation.

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